The builder of the world's best known supercar came from humble beginnings. Ferruccio Lamborghini was born to a farming family in 1918 in a small rural village in northern Italy. Growing up near the factories of Ferrari and Maserati, he was infected with an enthusiasm for cars of all types, but particularly fast cars. Realizing they could never make a farmer out of him, his parents sent him to a technical high school where he excelled. During World War II, he enlisted in the Italian Army and worked in the transport pool maintaining vehicles.
After the war there was a shortage of tractors for agriculture. Ferruccio
began searching the salvage yards for engines and other parts that could
be used to build tractors. He began assembling these parts into tractors
and sold them to local farmers. His endeavor prospered and in 1949 he founded
the Lamborghini Trattrice Company and began manufacturing tractors. In
ten years he was very wealthy, with diversified factories producing not
only tractors, but air conditioning units and fuel oil burners. However,
fast cars were his passion!
In the early 1960's he began designing cars which were more exotic than
the Ferrari or Maserati. He hired the best engineers and designers from
Ferrari. The result was the beginning of the ultimate supercars.
Supercars are judged in three areas - design, engine, and performance. In 1971, the Countach was the first supercar unleashed on the world and production began in 1974. It was considered the best in all three areas.
The wedge-shape design was very radically exotic. The engine was transversely
mounted in the center of the car. The frame was an advanced tubular-space
frame chassis covered by aluminum panels. The doors opened upward and the
car had a futuristic look.
The 12 cylinder, 4 liter engine was increased to 5.2 liters with 4 valves
per cylinder in 1986. It produced 455 horsepower. The engine was a masterpiece
of engineering. Power was transferred to the rear axle by a five-speed
The performance was unmatched by any road car in 1974. And even today
the Countach ranks as one of the worlds fastest production cars. With proper
gearing, the 5000 quattrovalvole model can exceed 200 mph! 0 to 60 mph
times are reported in the four second range.
The 5000 quattrovalvole was introduced in 1986 and was produced until
1988. During this time only 610 were built. The anniversary model was produced
from 1988 to 1990 with a total of 650 units being built. The Countach was
replaced in 1990 by the all new Diablo.
The 5000 Quattrovalvole is considered the most desirable model of the
Countach due to its engineering refinements and increased power as well
as its low production numbers. With careful research, good low mileage
examples can be found in the $100,000 to $125,000 price range. These cars
are considered good investments since only 610 were built and some have
Editor's note: A 1988 Lamborghini Countach is currently on display at
Auto Quest in Tifton, Ga.
Inventory in stock at Tifton for Sale (updated every business day)
Other published articles written by Bob Kennon
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